San Angelo's Be Theatre Production Of The Diary of Anne Frank Sold Out
SAN ANGELO, TX - With the help of many friends and supporters, San Angeloan Elena Kent launched 'Be Theatre,' a non-profit performance company, in July 2011. Part of the group's mission statement is "through the process of theatre arts and valuable life lessons learned, including tolerance, communication, problem-solving skills, cooperation, respect for one's self and others, humility, and compassion."
Kent, Founder and Artistic Director, said, this week through Sunday, the group is performing The Diary of Anne Frank, which is completely sold out for all shows. For those who aren't familiar with the story, Kent explained, "Anne Frank was a 13-14-year-old girl and part of a Jewish family who went into hiding during World War II. A Christian woman named Miep Geis hid the Frank family and another family, plus a dentist--eight people all in an annex for two years."
Anne's journal provided the world a historical look into what happened during those two years.
"Just two months before the liberation of all the camps, someone turned them in and they were all taken to concentration camps. Of the eight, only one survived: Anne's dad Otto. He, in turn, got the journal back and had it published, which is now read in hundreds of countries, in 68 different languages, and is also one of the all-time best selling books," said Kent.
She added, "Most eighth graders study The Diary of Anne Frank, which is not about the Holocaust; it's about family and a young girl growing up, and how the Holocaust affected her family. It brings humanity to an atrocity like the Holocaust. Instead of it being about a time in history where 6 million people were murdered by Hitler, which is what we learn from history, it humanizes how mothers, daughters, families and babies were torn apart."
Kent said the story is important because, through the book and through the play, the audience gets to see this was a family who laughs and cries and argues and studies.
"They were also hungry having very little food," said Kent. "Miep brought them food, but food was rationed at that time, and the Nazi's were keeping a close eye on the food because they would assume they were harboring and protecting Jews. They couldn't eat a lot so they were eating beans, bread, and rice for those two years. There were certainly no treats and sweets, so it was a very difficult time in the face of adversity, but they managed to survive."
Kent explained there's a 'talk back' session after every show.
"We have a community member who is of the Jewish faith, knows a lot about the Holocaust and has been to Amsterdam, which is where the annex was," she noted. "She's toured that annex, and, in a lot of the talk back sessions, people want to know who turned them in. There's theories, but no one knows for sure."
Regarding the venue, Kent said, "The theater only seats 63, and, with this production, the actors never leave the stage. It's the first time we've done a drama at Be Theatre and weren't sure on how it would be received, but we sold out a few weeks ago. We probably have enough people on our waiting list to where we could do two more shows but many of our actors are committed to other things."
For this production, Kent concluded, "We have four more shows that run through this weekend, which are also sold out. We also got a grant from the Cultural Affairs Council so that we could provide another week of shows that we're going to be doing for various other organizations that have applied to come see it."
For that, the Be Theatre will be bringing in about 315 students, mostly middle schoolers and some high schoolers, who are studying the Holocaust and Anne Frank between February 7th and 11th to see the show.
The group has many things planned for San Angelo's educational as well as entertainment purposes, so if you're wanting to know more about live theatrical performances, check out http://www.betheatre.com for a list of upcoming shows.